Excerpt from Week 6 Day 3
“When you are in a crisis in your marriage, or in a relationship with another believer and everything is breaking loose, what is your goal? Is your goal to be understood? Is your goal to be vindicated? Or, is your goal the preservation and security of your relationship? When husbands and wives make the security of the relationship their goal, the children will be able to live in security and safety and ultimately glorify God. Your children know whether or not your spiritual walk is legitimate or a sham. If they see you are weak, but humble and willing to grow and change, they will see the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will see that Jesus saves sinners, of whom I am the worst. They will learn that through perseverance and submission to God, believers become more and more like Jesus. They will see your testimony, slowly and steadily, played out in front of them, declaring the glory of God. However, if they see you put on a show for other Christians at church, but behind closed doors there is no humility or confession of sin and growth, they will smell a rat and possibly think all Christians are hiding the dark secrets that go on behind the doors of their homes.
If your marriage is on the rocks, remember your children are on the boat that is being dashed against the rocks by the waves of the storm. Instead of the captain and the navigator fighting each other or each doing their own thing, they need to realize the grave situation and begin to work together. Don’t start thinking, ‘If I just jump ship and maybe look for another man, my life will straighten out.’ Adultery is the surest way to drown the power of your prayers. Remember, the precious cargo in the boat—the children—will greatly benefit from an end to the mutiny. How do you begin to put the relationship first and not only come to a truce, but also start to find the light from the lighthouse in the middle of the storm?
If your goal is the growth and security of the relationship, you will take several of the steps indicated by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:2. Below, I use biblehub.com to find some amazing details on this passage from HELPSTM Word-Studies. Gary Hill, translator of The Discovery Bible and HELPSTM Word-Studies, has done decades of work to develop software which aids in understanding the nuances of Greek and Hebrew that are hard to translate into English. Look at what we can find out on the Bible Hub website!
Be completely humble. What does the word “humble” mean in the Greek? According to HELPSTM Word-Studies (visit http:// biblehub.com/greek/5012.htm):
“Humility is an inside-out virtue produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others). This brings behavior into alignment with this inner revelation to keep one from being self-exalting (self-determining, self-inflated).For the believer, … tapeinophrosýnē (“humility”) means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no relianceon self (the flesh).”
Usually, when we are angry with someone, it is because we are offended. We didn’t get what we wanted. Someone did something to us that caused an offense. They may or may not know it. We start getting puffed up and comparing our behavior to theirs, instead of to Jesus.
Even if you have been legitimately hurt, humility will bring you closer to resolving the relationship or issue.
Come to the conversation without assuming the worst about the other person.
Come to the conversation after praying for the relationship and for the other person.
Come to the conversation to resolve the conflict, not to prove the other person wrong.
Commit yourself to listen to understand. Don’t prepare your answer as the person is talking. Ask questions to help clarify what the other person is saying. Don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions.
Make sure the other person knows you care about him or her and that love is your motivation. If it is not your motivation, go back and pray some more. Repent for not caring and having a hard and prideful heart.
Admit where you are wrong.
Be willing to apologize for hurting the other person—if that person is hurt—even if you think it is silly. (ie. Your personality may think that some issue the other person thinks is important is frivolous and vice versa. Be humble and allow that person the right to what he or she feels is important, as long as it is not sin.) Make sure the apology is sincere and not flippant. Apologize the way you would want to be apologized to.
Be gentle. The Greek word for gentle is not weakness. It is meekness, which expresses “power with reserve.” (visit http://biblehub.com/greek/4240.htm) The classical Greek word for meekness referred to a horse who had been tamed and bridled. This gives us a picture of power under the control of a master. Jesus is
our master! When you are in a tough situation, it’s easy to allow anger to seethe underneath the surface. It’s easy to laugh at the other person, to yell at them, or just ignore them. Are you gentle in your approach to your relationships? This does not mean pretending you aren’t hurt. This does not mean brushing your feelings under the rug. It means ask the Holy Spirit to give you gentleness. It has to come from him! Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and revelation on this. Let Jesus be the master of your emotions and reactions. Jesus’ transformation of our character is a refining process—the process of “meeking.”
Be patient. HELPS Word-studies found at biblehub.com says:
“… the word for patience in the Greek, “embraces steadfastness and staying-power. If in English we had an adjective ‘long-tempered’ as a counterpart to ‘short-tempered,’ then makrothymia could be called the quality of being ‘long- tempered’ . . . which is a quality of God …”
It’s easy to get impatient when dealing with something that annoys you. One of the things God has convicted me of over the years is that getting easily annoyed is not loving and not of God. Being easily annoyed is very self-centered and may be a signal that something else is going on under the surface.
Do not take today’s study as telling you to stuff your feelings and put on a smile. This is not about behavior modification. I am writing about praying for the Holy Spirit to transform your heart by his power and forgiveness, and with his indwelling.
PRAY INSTEAD OF FRET, THEN PRAY TOGETHER!
Instead of complaining about your husband or nagging him—let’s be honest, if complaining and nagging hasn’t helped yet, how can we keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results—try praying! You are seated with Christ in heavenly realms. Get busy! Begin praying for your spouse’s heart and for your own heart. Ask God to change you both. Ask Jesus to intervene. Do spiritual warfare for your spouse. How many fretful hours have you wasted just worrying and resenting, instead of praying and breaking through a problem? Probably too many to count for all of us.
Look back at the memory verse prayer. God intends us to experience the fullness of Christ through our unity in the Spirit with others. There is a fullness of God’s presence that we experience in unified prayer, when we begin to go before the Father with our spouse or other believers for the issues that are overwhelming us. When you begin to walk in the humility of Christ, you will experience more and more unity and oneness in your marriage. The results? Your prayers will be infused and emboldened with faith and confidence. If your spouse is willing, ask him to pray with you for the situation you are facing, either in your marriage or in one of your children. Warning—don’t criticize his praying. Just be thankful for the time together and be sure that you pray, too. He will grow in his ability to pray, the more you pray together. If you criticize his prayers, he will probably never want to do that together again! Would you?
"This book is a must-have for women of all ages interested in going deeper in their study of the Bible. As a senior citizen woman and a seasoned Bible student/teacher, I was amazed at the fresh insights and understanding the Lord revealed as I read through this book. I was especially touched by the Greek word studies and the section on how understanding the life of Queen Esther deepens our understanding and application of being warrior princesses. The memory verses and abundant examples of praying through various scriptures in Ephesians will encourage and transform many. Each day's study ends with practical suggestions for applying that lesson to women's daily lives. I'm grateful for the opportunity to read this book and look forward to using it in the next Bible study I lead at our church." -DuAnne Thrush, women's ministry council leader, women's Bible study teacher, and worship team member, Crossroads Brethren in Christ Church, State Line, PA